Exclusive Interview: Dominant Legs
October 5, 2011
by Chuck Norton
Have you ever been laid off? If you have, you know it’s a frustrating, worrisome and stressful experience. Family and friends try to lend support by given you words of encouragement. Usually, they are hollow, but the reason they – or we – say them is in the hopes that those hopeful expressions will lead something positive.
When Ryan Lynch was laid off from his corporate job in 2008, he did took advantage of that time do focus on his music. He began writing prolifically; joining forces with Hannah Hunt in 2009 upon her return to San Fransisco from New York, where she had been studying architecture.
Thus, Dominant Legs was born.
Lynch wasn’t a stranger to the San Francisco music-scene. As a touring band-member with both Magic Bullets and Girls, he had cut his teeth on the road with some of the region’s most critically acclaimed acts. But it was that stroke of luck – as bad as it may have seemed at the time – that led to the 2010 EP Dominant Legs released.
Building on the success of, Young at Love and Life, the band added three new members – Rene Solomon, Andrew Connors and Garett Goddard – as they prepared to record their debut LP, Invitation, which was released on September 27, 2011.
The band – that wouldn’t have had life if not for the dreaded lay-off – is on the road touring North America in support of their album. It just shows that sometimes things to work out for the positive.
For more information Dominant Legs, visit their Facebook page.
DeadJournalist.com brings you this exclusive interview with Ryan Lynch of Dominant Legs.
Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted a few days prior to the release of the band’s LP and before they set-out on their Fall 2001 tour.
With your new LP almost here – how does it feel to have it finally be released?
RL: It hasn’t really hit me yet because there are still a few days left before it’s out. We finished it in May, but it feels like we’ve been waiting much longer than that, as if it would never be released. I’m mostly grateful towards everyone who worked on the album including those who did the artwork, photos and videos. We try our best to always work with friends, so it feels like a celebration between family members.
What drove the creative process behind writing and recording your album? Did you set-out with a certain direction in mind?
RL: Our EP had been out for quite a while before we went in to record the LP, so I had a lot of time to listen to what we started with and consider improvements. The EP almost sounds like demos to me now, which is fine, but I wanted the record to be filled out. It was always our intention to develop into a full band and we finally had the time to do that since I am no longer playing in any other bands.
Also, half of the EP was extremely moody. I wanted the record to be mostly bright and welcoming. I think we achieved that.
How did the addition of members to the band – since your last EP – impact this record? Was there more collaboration during development or was the impact more around the instrumentation?
RL: Each addition helped quite a bit. I don’t have a real knack for percussion, so it was a huge relief when we brought in Rene to play drums. It was much easier to improve the songs once we became a five piece. I have a tendency to be married to a demo version of a song and can be really stubborn about straying from the original. It was easy to let go this time around because everyone brought in great ideas an parts of their own. So, it was a both the development and instrumentation. Sometimes you worry about having to many cooks in the kitchen, but it actually gave us more freedom.
How have you evolved as a song-writer since the inception of Dominant Legs in ’08? Do you feel as though you are always striving for that perfect song?
RL: 2008 was important for me because I found what works for my song writing. I still work on songs where I just stop, put down what I’m playing and say, “This isn’t right!!” but before 2008 I had felt like everything was wrong. The first song that made sense, where I thought, “This is me” was “Just Silly Ones.” This song hasn’t been released, but I consider it to be the first Dominant Legs song.
I wasn’t considering any influences when I wrote and it just came naturally. So, at this point I am not trying to write a perfect song. Just trying to stay honest with them and improve where I can while referring to that realization.
How did your time with Magic Bullets and Girls impact you as an artist? Likewise, what lessons did you learn that you were able to apply to the non-musical side of the music business?
RL: The members of Magic Bullets where sort of my personal DJ’s. They are also my best friends, but they are the people who introduce me to new music. I get obsessed with bands easily, while they on the other hand are listening to new stuff every day. I lived with all of them, so I couldn’t help but get turned on to bands I wouldn’t have searched for on my own. I also took the Nile Rodgers/Chic influence from Corey. We started playing like that, or trying to, right before I left the band.
Chris and JR have a great respect for their songs. Not in the sense that they are constantly patting themselves on the back, but in a way that they are telling themselves, “This is YOUR art, give it care and attention. Do it right.” I’ve tried to approach my work the same.
I also found out that I could handle extensive touring. Actually, I found out that I love touring. I have a great time. You can ask them.
As an artist – what is it that inspires and motivates you? Has this changed as you have gotten older?
RL: I’m inspired by other artist who are themselves. I’m also inspired by the San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks. I admire their work ethic. I wish I spent as much time refining my craft as they do.
How does your album translate to your live performance? Do you try to maintain consistency from show-to-show or do you tailor each performance to location and mood?
RL: There are certain nights when you know such and such songs are just not going to work, but for the most part we’re just hoping to play all of them the best we can. There were a few tracks that had electronic drums on the album that have been replaced with a real kit for the live show, so that will be different. We wanted to ditch samples for now and just go out and play.
With your Fall ’11 tour about to kick-off, to which part(s) of touring are you most looking forward? What are the most challenging aspects?
RL: I was touring for a full year before January of this year, so it has felt a bit strange to be home for so long. I’m looking forward to the travel and being in a new place every night. I’m NOT looking forward to managing the whole thing.
With Girls I only had to worry about getting in the van at the right time in the morning. Now I have to deal with expenses. I’m being a baby. Waaaa waaaa.
The most challenging aspect will be to wrangle our drummer. He likes to wander a bit. I once saw him leaving one of our shows, so I asked him where he was going. “Oh, I’m going to go see the Ariel Pink show. I’ll be back.” He came back and walked on stage seconds before our set time.
I love him though.
What is the most bizarre thing that has occurred to you while being on tour?
RL: We hit deer once, which was really sad. We were running very late to an in-store and showed up with blood and feces all over the front of our van. We had no time to clean it off.
How does social media and social networking impact how you market the band? Do you – or other band members – use it to cultivate relationships with your fans? Are there any drawbacks to this?
RL: I try to make our Facebook page as personal as it can be. For the final week before the release I’ve been posting lyrics of one track from the album each day so that they are available to whoever is interested. When I do post anything I include my name so they know it’s me and not just someone who’s been asked to monitor our web presence. Hannah and I tweet quite frequently: @dominantlynchie and @LITTLE_EMPEROR.
But for the most part we try to let the album and shows speak for themselves. There’s a draw back to social networking when it gets to the point that people are inundated with posts about your band and feel like they aren’t getting any thing substantial or they get tired of hearing about you. We haven’t got to that point yet. If it does, I’d like to think we would be careful about what gets out there.
Is there an artist that you’ve encountered recently that you’ve been recommending to your friends?
RL: Carletta Sue Kay.
What were you listening to in 2001?
RL: Pink Floyd, Yes, The Doors.
Which do you prefer: MP3, CD, Tape or Vinyl?
Web site(s) you read regularly?
RL: SJSHARKS.COM, Fearthefin.
One Drink. One Movie. One Album.
RL: Vodka Tonic, ‘Wild At Heart’ , Blonde On Blonde.
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